The first serious thing I ever wrote was
a screenplay entitled Of Myths and Legends.
It’s set in Winfield, Kansas. It’s a real place.
The Walnut River runs through it as it curves
and loops south past the Kickapoo Corral. Just
across from there is Highlands Cemetery.
Between the two locations, a whirlpool spins
in the water – lots of strange currents ‘round there.
The water thrashes and rages and churns like
a washing machine until it bottles up
at the old Tunnel Mill Dam near a town called
Horner’s Corners. You may have heard of it. It’s
where Mary Ann’s fiancé was from on that
show about a three hour tour gone awry.
You know … Gilligan’s Island? – “The Professor
and Mary Ann?” – She was from Winfield, the town
next door to Horner’s Corners. Here’s the thing, though:
The former’s a real place. The latter is not.
Horner’s Corners doesn’t exist, which is why
Stu Sarian lives there. He’s not real either.
He’s just a character in my first screenplay.
Stu lives in the country outside of town and
grows a strain of premium marijuana
in his yard that he refers to as Moksha,
an ancient Indian word meaning release,
emancipation or liberation from
what the Hindus refer to as “samsāra.”
In plain English that means the cycle of death
and rebirth. You know – the Myth of the Phoenix
Ray Bradbury wrote about in Fahrenheit
451? Of course you know, right? Right. So…
Stu grows this stuff that grants him the ears to hear
what’s going on behind the scenes. He knows he’s
a character in a screenplay and he thinks
it’s all too weird to explain to anyone,
so he lives by himself and listens to loud
rock and roll records when he’s not pecking at
an IBM Selectric typewriter or
reading one of the thousands of books lining
every wall of his living room. Stu has
a cousin named Bart Quinn who lives in Winfield.
Bart’s six-foot-three and built like a brick shithouse.
He runs the insurance company his dad
left him. He drives a BMW and
played quarterback for the WHS
Vikings a decade before taking over
his pop’s business. “Listen up: Bart Quinn is an
asshole, but he’s a likeable asshole. He
truly cares about his friends. He helped me when
I needed it.” Lesley Jones said that. He’s the
star of the show, even though he doesn’t know
it yet. At the beginning of the story
he works for Bart in the small downtown office
and pines for his ex-girlfriend, Sarah, who lives
in the same apartment complex he lives in
and makes it a habit of prancing by in
tight spandex outfits with all her new boyfriends
on their way to the complex’s gym. “Do you
even lift, bro?” has been asked of Lesley more
than once and the answer is no. This man does
nothing. He believes in nothing. His life is
over, for all intents and purposes, at
least to him. The old gods, on the other hand,
have plans for the lanky gentleman. Big plans…